Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit
Chet Faker: “I haven't really made correlations between the people who inspire me and the music that I make.”

Chet Faker: “I haven't really made correlations between the people who inspire me and the music that I make.”

18 April 2014, 15:00

Chet Faker releases music with no expectations.

Like many new artists, he hopes for more positive responses than blatant hatred for his material but the Australian electro-soul artist didn’t expect what actually happened when his version of “No Diggity” hit the internet in 2011 – instantly putting him on the path to viral success and a growing base of support that lead to debut LP, Built On Glass.

But before we start picking apart how he came to the full-length album and the present, let’s go back to 2011 when he released the Blackstreet R&B standard. The Melbourne singer and musician was already putting music out there through the usual online outlets (SoundCloud, Twitter, Bandcamp) and while he seemed to get a response with other tracks, nothing prepared him for what the cover would bring.

“It was another late-night thing, like three in the morning,” Faker tells me from a spot in Brooklyn where he’s doing some promo for the album. “I did the whole beat first, and the vocals are the last thing I did. And I had ‘No Diggity’ stuck in my head. So when I got there, I just recorded the vocals, and it kind of worked…when people ask why that song, I just tell them that it was just stuck in my head. And I guess I put it on the EP because it was the most popular song on Twitter that I did.”

However Faker seems a bit modest when he talks about the success of the cover – it reached the top spot on the Hype Machine chart in May 2011 and later became the soundtrack for Super Bowl advert for Beck’s Sapphire in 2013. Hardly resting on his laurels, he continued to work and put out Thinking in Textures, released in 2012 and his first official body of work. “No one realizes that EP is the first time ever produced any of my music and sang and wrote the songs,” he explains. “I was just figuring it out. So there’s heaps of room for me to develop, and I guess I show that I’ve developed a bit more [on Built On Glass].”

Faker may have been green in the music world compared to more established talent coming out of his homeland two years ago but the EP won him two Australian Independent Record Awards – Breakthrough Artist of the Year and Best Independent Single/EP – as well as a Rolling Stone Australia Award for Best Independent Release. Again, he doesn’t dwell on the hype: “I’m surprised to the response I get in general with my music,” he says. “Sometimes I’ve got pinch myself. But I don’t really pay that much attention to it to be honest, though it feels nice.”


Born Nicholas James Murphy, Faker was introduced to music whilst he was still an infant. His first memories of music stem from hearing his parents play anything and everything from Motown to the relaxed sounds from Ibiza; he recalls playing his grandmother’s piano as a little boy. Despite these early introductions to music, unlike other artists his appreciation for the craft didn’t start there. “I wasn’t really into music until I was about 15,” he reveals. “Then all in that one year, I bought a guitar and started messing around with the computer. Yeah, it was at that age that I was becoming obsessed with music.”

With the different styles he listened to as a child ranging from jazz to electronic, Faker was open to taking all he’s soaked in over the years to produce something he liked rather than something neatly categorised. “It wasn’t a conscious thing,” he explains about his approach to blending buttery R&B vocals with a more electronic beat.”It’s not that linear for me. I guess the best way to answer that question is that I have so many different tastes that it was almost inevitable.”

He doesn’t give you a laundry list of names that inspire him, even though there are bunch on his Facebook that includes Bonobo, Thom Yorke, Star Slinger, Jamie Woon and Herbie Hancock. “I haven’t really made correlations between the people who inspire me and the music that I make,” he explains. “I’m not good at answering this question. I love songs and music in general, but there are no artists that really blow me away.

“I’m also very weary of idolosing particular individuals. it limits yourself.”

One thing he is more than willing to clarify is the origins of his moniker. While paying obvious homage to 50s’ jazz trumpeter Chet Baker, he also had another reason for not going with his birth name. “There’s another musician with the name Nick Murphy in Australia, and he’s already had stuff out,” he explains. “I didn’t want to step on any toes. So I was just being diplomatic about the whole process.

“I was listening to Chet Baker at the time when I came up with that name. He wasn’t that great of a singer, he had this way that was so confident and understated. That’s something I wanted to aspire to in my music when I make my own.”


Chet Faker

Now squared away with a name and a hit EP, Faker intends to bring a more refined sound to Built on Glass. Combining his multi-instrumental know-how with lyrics that delve into love, desire and, of course, loss, the album takes the listener on an emotional journey that melts – and sometimes breaks – your heart as well as inspiring a little bit more than the typical head-bop or toe-tap. While his currently smooth and entrancing “Talk Is Cheap” is currently on heavy rotation, Faker reveals that the most memorable song for him to work on was the sad mid-tempo cut “Cigarettes and Loneliness”: “It’s easily one of the most powerful songs I ever wrote. I just remember it being 7AM and that song all just flowing out. I was not happy at the time.”

It wouldn’t be fair to talk about Faker without mentioning regular collaborator and fellow Aussie Flume. Considering their different styles and approaches to electronic music, the two hooked up like any other two growing musicians would in the 21st century. “We met on Facebook… started putting out music around the same time,” he says. “He put out that song ‘Sleepless’ I think he just messaged me something like, ‘Hey.’

“Then I said ‘Hey’ back. So we kept emailing, and we were on similar trajectory. And we work well together. Harley is a fast worker.”

They cut the three track Lockjaw EP together, with “Drop the Game” becoming a hit back home, taking the top spot on the Australian Indie single chart. While the two clearly make magic in the studio, don’t expect to hear any new collaborations in the near future as Built On Glass is Faker’s main focus at the moment.

Built on Glass is out now via Future Classic / Opulent Records

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